By BRIAN GRAVES
The angels of Cleveland and Bradley County are once again being called upon to make Christmas special for those many special angels for whom there might be no visible cause for celebration.The …
The angels of Cleveland and Bradley County are once again being called upon to make Christmas special for those many special angels for whom there might be no visible cause for celebration.
The Salvation Army has begun taking Angel Tree applications for families who may need assistance in bringing the joy and light of the holidays into what may be very dark and seemingly hopeless situations.
"We are taking Angel Tree applications all this week," said SA Administrator Ruthie Forgey. "We do it by appointment only and people who need assistance this year can call us at 423-308-3467 to schedule an appointment to come in and fill out an application for the Angel Tree.
Forgey said all needs are authenticated, which means applicants will need to bring the appropriate identification.
"When they call to schedule their appointment, they will be told what they need to bring," she said.
"Last year, we served 869 kids and seniors in this community, which was a little over 250 families," Forgey said. "We don't know what the need is this year, but we expect it to be more. We can't do it without the help of the community."
She said the Angel Tree will appear at the Bradley Square Mall beginning Nov. 10 so people can adopt angels they may wish to help.
People can come in and pick a name tag off the tree which will have the needs and wants — from clothes to shoes to some toys — the child named on the tag.
Once the tag is obtained by someone, they can go shop for the items requested.
"They will be directed where to return those when they choose their angel or angels," Forgey said.
One of the needs the Angel Tree program needs for this year is a space to store the Angel Tree donations from where they can also be distributed.
"We need a warehouse or a large storefront space that can accommodate the gifts," Forgey said. "Angels start being returned in November and the distribution will be Dec. 20. We don't have a space for that right now and are in desperate need of that resource."
"Our community is so generous," she added. "We are very fortunate to live in Cleveland, Tennessee. The community here always gets behind the Angel Tree program. We have never had angels that were not adopted and they are always returned. We are so grateful."
Forgey said it becomes a family tradition for many and cited the "great corporate partnerships" whose offices pitch in to provide for numerous angels.
"Sometimes, we have those that take 25 angels, then call and ask for 25 more," she said.
"The one thing I regret is those who give so generously do not see the smiles we see when we distribute what they have provided," Forgey said. "Those smiles of joy, and often relief, are priceless."
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